After my experience using FrameForge3D on many commercials, I was keen to use the program during pre-production for my feature film THE SURPRISE. I used FrameForge3D to extensively pre-visualize scenes that looked like technical challenges and thus keep ‘surprises’ on the set to a minimum.
One of the most complex, challenging and certainly the most expensive sequence in the film involved a fast runaway truck coming down a steep city hill, dodging traffic while passing eleven street crossings. The sequence needed to be shot in just two days on a hill in Wuppertal, Germany that presented the desired architecture and steepness but offered only two crossings. This meant we had to extend the hill with a serious amount of CGI.
In order to be able to responsibly budget the great number of VFX shots looking up or down the hill, I decided to build the entire city set with 11 crossings including a huge building pit at the bottom of the hill in SketchUp Pro. I broke up the set in four segments, imported them in FrameForge3D where I ‘glued’ them back together again as one big set.
Without any noticeable program slowdown, FrameForge3D now enabled me to create a full, shot by shot, very precise moving storyboard of the entire sequence, giving all departments involved not just the exact info they needed, but also the confidence that the sequence could be tackled with limited money and time.
It all worked like a charm, we wrapped the sequence on time, and you can see how exact the previs was in this comparison between the FrameForge boards and actual frames.
But more than just solving a huge number of potential technical problems for us, FrameForge3D also allowed me to really explore every scene I used it on in ways I never could have without it. By being able to move the camera around on my virtual “locations,” it always inspired me to push past my initial ideas for shots to find even more effective ones.
Thanks for a great program!
Mike van Diem
Academy Award® winning director
Visual Effects by Filmmore Amsterdam – Brussels – Luxembourg www.filmmore.eu
Mark Kolpack, Emmy® Nominated VFX Supervisor
“The pilot episode was directed and co-written by Joss Whedon.
Since I had not worked with him prior to this project, I needed to find a visual shorthand with him in order to get the VFX demands of the project quickly and clearly across since time is never an option in television.
That is where FrameForge Previz Studio became a huge help to me.”
I have been a huge fan of FrameForge for about eight years. I began seeing what it could do back on the first season of Heroes. I was the Visual Effects Supervisor on that show’s first season and needed a way to visually explain what the effect was going to look like and the framing I felt best for it. The company I worked for at the time purchased a few licenses and we began testing and implementing it on the shows being done there. I found it very helpful and so did the producers and directors who I interacted with.
Since then I received FrameForge 3.0 to use on my new show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The pilot episode was directed and co-written by Joss Whedon. Since I had not worked with him prior to this project, I needed to find a visual shorthand with him in order to get the VFX demands of the project quickly and clearly across since time is never an option in television. That is where FrameForge 3.0 became a huge help to me.
I began designing angles for a sequence whereby a man leaps out of a burning building carrying a woman in his arms. Once I completed the angles and the action scripted, I then went in and added fire smoke in Photoshop for additional dramatic impact. When I showed Joss the frames, he instantly got what I was pitching which allowed him to refine the angles without a lot of theoretical talk on how and where the camera should be. As you can see from the frames above and below when comparing them side by side to the finished composites, it is clear just how similar they are to the actual photographed shots first derived in FrameForge.
Since the pilot, I have gone on to supervising “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” the series and not only do I use FrameForge for our guest directors that come on board but often there are times when I have to board out sequences for my Visual Effects facilities so they can get a clearer idea of just what it is that I’m looking to create.
FrameForge makes getting the visual idea across so much easier than trying to use your words and hoping that the people you are speaking with will see the same picture in their head as you do in yours.
This software has become an indispensable tool in my Visual Effects kit.
“I had built the entire Downton Abbey ‘below stairs’ set inside FrameForge, using the measurements from art dept’s technical drawings – it was easy to set out the spaces, furnish them and position doors, windows and traps accurately to allow for camera positions and sight-lines that I knew would correspond perfectly to the set on the shoot day
I used this virtual set extensively on all four episodes of the show that I did – it was a great solution to busy scenes with lots of camera and character movement – It meant that I worked fast, and I could give clear notes to a large number of actors , all thanks to my previz…”
I have directed four episodes of Downton Abbey, including Season 4 Episode 1, for which I was nominated for an Emmy. FrameForge Previz has been an invaluable director’s tool for me, and I’d like to tell you about a scene from Season 4 Episode 2, where it was truly a life-saver.
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Steeven Petitteville, Cinematographer
“FrameForge has been one of the most important tools for me when shooting on set. Its evolution and constant upgrades just make the software better and better, and it allows me to answer a lot of questions like how far do you need the wall? How high do we need to paint? Are you sure we need the whole cyclorama to be painted?
It’s great to be sure of your answers, and to be able to show the other departments on a simple graphic why or what you have in mind.”
I have to say that your software has been one of the most important tools for me when shooting on set. My name is Steeven Petitteville, I am a french cinematographer working on features, commercial, short films and music videos.
I’ve been using FrameForge 3D since version 2 for almost every stage shooting I do, using it as a virtual set.
The first time I heard of FrameForge was from a director’s friend who used the very first version. He show me roughly the basis of the software and I thought it should be useful for knowing how much track we need or if it is accurate if the size of the stage are right….
I finally decide to buy my 1st version of FF just when the V2 was out and started to use it immediately. At that time, I was starting as a DOP shooting some music videos for french bands (such as Para one, superbus, jenifer, ….) with production company Wanda in France.
As we had very little money, the production manager was pushing us to be very efficient, so I start using FrameForge with the directors to build the shoot and then know exactly what our needs were: basically tracks length, or cranes heights, or lenses sets. I show the boards to the Production Manager and it allowed us to have discussions around a concrete frame (in this way, FrameForge is also a budgeting tool).
Then I start commercial work and some more soundstage work. For example BNP (http://www.vimeo.com/37803095 shot in Prague in Barendov Studio)
Building the set on FrameForge became easier and fast as I got used to it and the tool’s evolution and constant upgrades just make the software better and better every time, and it allows me to answer a lot of questions like how far do you need the wall? How high do we need to paint? Are you sure we need the whole cyclorama to be painted?
It’s great to be sure of your answers, and to be able to show the other departments on a simple graphic why or what you have in mind.
Then Version 3 came out and getting the real dolly, cranes, and cam specs has been the best improvement ever. With version 3, I can push the FrameForge’s use even one step further because I am able to show a precise, real previz to the director and producer using the real tools on virtual set.
I was able to work with the VFX and compare between their virtual moves and the constraint of our real tools. FrameForge is definitely a part of my tool kit, as important as a light meter, a compass, and a viewfinder.
An example of previz for set needs on a commercial for Adolfo Dominguez perfume brand shot in Barcelona on a soundstage. We got the art director’s set dimensions, the VFX did their previz but we needed to know some heights for the green screen and walls before they finished it…
So we built it roughly in FrameForge and designed the shots with the director so we could answer the producers, art director and clients, exactly what needed to be constructed.
And then for me the green screen heights that needed to be painted and the green ceiling and when we need to move it regarding the shots.
This a just a small part of my history with FrameForge, and I can go on and on forever as there are a lot more situations when it helps, as an educational tool I remember showing the different format option thru it to choose between 1:1.85 ratio or 1:2,40, as a viewfinder (what’s the widest shot we can achieve), to show the equipment scale and what we can achieve or not with it…
It’s incredibly useful and constantly upgraded.
James Tucker, Director / Producer
“When I heard about your new program FrameForge Previz Studio, I looked into it and decided to give it a try.
As I discovered what the software could do, I was truly amazed at the power and control it gave me over my pre-production planning, storyboarding and my directing plans.”
James Tucker Productions
When I heard about your new program FrameForge, I looked into it and decided to give it a try. As I discovered what the software could do, I was truly amazed at the power and control it gave me over my pre-production planning, storyboarding and my directing plans.
I remember telling my wife, who is a producer also, how I could plan my next film shot by shot and move the actors through all the scenes as if I were already on location. I could look for more creative shots that might not occur to me on the set. I could take all the time I wanted working with my actors, moving them around and thinking the scenes over. I could truly experiment, try anything without worrying about running out of time.
She liked the idea of the program but did not fully understand the power this would give us. So I asked her very nicely to sit down and let me walk her through the basics. It was not long before she understood and started making her own shot suggestions.
I used FrameForge on the next film I directed in New York City called Addiction. My co-producer, who was also the writer, lived in NY. We were able to collaborate in advance on my plans for the scenes. He loved the program because he was able to have much more input early on. We could really talk the scenes over in greater detail and consider the actual locations that he was securing at the time.
Also, as some locations changed or fell through, my co-producer would send me stills of new locations and I could easily make updates inside FrameForge based on the new stills. My co-producer even used some of our early pre-visualization ideas as PDF files to bring in three more investors. After our first film using FrameForge was complete, our distributor asked if we storyboarded this whole film. Some of his colleagues even commented that the advanced planning truly made a big difference in my directing.
We were both sold, and we used FrameForge on our next six films together.
Over the years my DPs and crew members really like to review the FrameForge PDF files in advance. They can all understand what the scene-by-scene plans are for each day and for the over all shoot. I really think this helps especially on low budget productions, because the crew feels more a part of the whole process and are more invested in the production. I even find that FrameForge can help my actors relax a bit more by understanding the blocking in advance and what to expect before the shoot day.
On some smaller projects I will use FrameForge on just the difficult scenes. I also use FrameForge a lot in my web video production business, OnWeb Television. I write simple one or two page scripts for business clients and use FrameForge to lay the ideas out for them visually. Many business people do not fully understand video production and they love to see the images laid out with pictures.
Also, pre-visualization on smaller jobs actually helps me book more of them, because I stand out from the other video producers who just have a script or shot list.
I also teach web video production to adults and teenagers. In my classes I have used FrameForge on my laptop connected to a projector to help the students understand planning, pre-visualization, directing, blocking, crossing the line and many related topics. I always teach my students how important pre-production is to any video or film. I mostly work with students who are creating their first short film or web video, with little or no money. So I always stress to them: plan, plan, plan. No one plans to fail, they just fail to plan (they think I made up that quote). I tell them planning will cost them nothing, but save them a lot.
For many years I have been a true evangelist of the benefits of FrameForge. I believe that not only will FrameForge help you make better films and videos, if you invest time working with the program, it can truly help you on the road to becoming a better director.
All the best,
James Tucker Productions
VW Scheich, Award-Winning Writer/Director
“I cannot imagine having done About, my first feature film, without FrameForge Previz Studio.
Well, I mean I can imagine it; it’s just not a pretty picture.”
Mike Clattenburg, Gemini Award-Winning Writer/Director
As a director, FrameForge 3D has been invaluable to me on Trailer Park Boys TV Series and feature films, I’ve also used it on pilots, commercials, studio multi-cam, episodic TV and now use it regularly on the Adult Swim series Black Jesus. I’m no computer expert but I found the learning curve short as the software really is intuitive and easy-to-use. In no time at all I was full on storyboarding and presenting my producers with high rez, colourful storyboards. In every case, they were impressed and knew I was well prepared.
For the pilot of Black Jesus I was able to create all our characters, but most importantly, an African American Jesus, wearing a robe, standing exactly six feet, seven inches tall. The actor who plays Jesus, (Slink) is exactly six foot seven. When building virtual Jesus in FrameForge I could precisely match his height. With one actor towering over the cast we were in for some interesting blocking and framing challenges, and lucky for me I was able to figure it all out beforehand with the easy-to-use software. I was also able render facial expressions that made the boards funny and beat-specific.
I’ve worked with professional story board artists a few times but FrameForge allows me to directly find the frame I like rather than relying on their interpretation of my description. Because I am running the software myself, I can ‘sniff around’ in the virtual world for a nice frame, see it and capture it. FrameForge records the lens I like, depth of field, the camera height and position- this comes in very handy on the day. Before we shoot, I can email my DOP, producers, actors and show them exactly what I’m thinking. I could talk about a shot on set for a long time, or communicate the information in a second with FrameForge’s boards. My team will then set the shot and improve the idea. FrameForge’s Data-Rich storyboards really are worth a thousand words.
My favorite part of working with FrameForge is not exactly work, I find it more like play. I can dream in a three dimensional world for hours. Playing around with all the great features, I found the shot to introduce Jesus in our first episode, a jib arm to crane up slowly behind Jesus as he first appears. The shot made us feel his power and featured Slink’s great height – I wouldn’t have discovered it without FrameForge 3D.
It’s been stable and reliable on my mac, and FrameForge even has a ‘just in case’ save feature which I have used on occasion when I’ve accidentally deleted something.
The FrameForge designers outdid themselves with the program’s ability to mimic physical camera equipment. I can bring a Fisher dolly, or a pee wee dolly and see how much room it takes up on set. I enter set parameters and find problems, limitations and opportunities all from my Lazy Boy.
On every project, someone will inevitably ask “where do I get that storyboard program you used?”
Keep up the great work,
What has your current storyboarding process done for you lately?
FrameForge Previz Studio is available for both Macintosh and Windows and comes with an iron-clad 30 day money-back guarantee.